All positive COVID tests in Ontario are now screened for variant strains

COVID-19 testing

"There's no ideal answer or solution during a pandemic", said Chief Medical Officer Eileen de Villa on Wednesday.

Starting on January 11, the government took a staggered approach to reopen physical classrooms, starting first with northern Ontario and rural schools where case rates are lower.

Daily screening measures will also be more stringent.

Public health officials have noted, however, that updates to a provincial database are causing data fluctuations in this week's case counts. The region's top doctor has said he believes the number of variant cases is even higher.

Most of the new infections were found in Toronto (584), Peel Region (265) and York Region (132). Tuesday's numbers saw the province dip below 1,000 for the first time since November 5.

With 64,467 tests processed in the last 24 hours, Ontario's positivity rate stands at 2.6 per cent.

So far there have been 152 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom and one case of the B 1.351 variant first detected in South Africa.

There is now a total of 273,660 confirmed cases in the province since the onset of the pandemic with 6,393 deaths.

Province-wide, about 500,000 kids chose to stay at home to learn this school year, which left almost 1.5 million attending classes.

Of the confirmed cases 16,330 are active and 250,937 have been resolved. Another 1,956 cases were resolved in the previous 24-hour period.

The government has advised people to heed public health rules and keep taking precautions against the virus to prevent the variants from spreading. Of those patients now in hospital, 323 are in intensive care and 241 require a ventilator.



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